Pagani Huayra: A hypercar unlike any other

Auto Tech
Around 2005, the world was changing. The age of the supercar was rapidly becoming the age of the hypercar. As Pagani Zonda, which debuted in 1999 is finding its stride, cars like the Bugatti Veyron were crawling out of the woodwork. The automotive landscape was evolving. It was changing, and the bar was racing. Horacio Pagani saw this, and he upped his game. He built his supercar with the Zonda, and now, the race was on to create a world-beating hypercar. As such in 2011, he debuted this, the Huayra-- a hypercar, if ever there was one. When at first glance, it may look like the Huayra is a little muted in comparison to the Zonda, take a little longer. The Huayra is more refined than the all-out Zonda. It's been designed with one purpose in mind-- performance. Like most high achievers, the Huayra is a little bit different from all the other kids in the playground. You see, its aerodynamics aren't big and on display. No. They're hidden and inspired by aerospace. The active aero around the car means that it can adjust to its current state. You need to go very fast in a straight line, the aero will stay hidden, keeping the car as slippery as possible. If you're cornering in track work, flaps on the front and rear will deploy to push it in to the ground. It will even pop a flap to counter body row in the bend. The aero will also double as an air brake. The Huayra up-close is something to behold. Every line and crease begs you to look deeper in to the car. You can see that some of its design was dictated by the car's aerodynamic needs. But the work Pagani's designs have done is simply breath-taking. It's not as wild when it's out there as a Zonda. But still, you get this awesome gull-wing doors, which are hommage to the Mercedes 300 SL. It's simply beautiful. And then, you get inside. Pagani's interiors are some of the most beautiful and mental in the business. Everything in here is beautifully milled and crafted aluminum. It just looks stunning. You wouldn't find any off-the-shelf switches or anything like that. It's just-- it's a joy to touch. When I spoke with Horacio Pagani, he said that he wanted the interior of the car to be like your own console or your own space, somewhere just for you. And of course, with the car, the exterior can look like pretty much anything you want. But if you're the owner, you're the one that's gonna sit inside it, you're going to experience it on a daily basis. So, why not have an interior that is as astoundingly beautiful as this? It's-- I don't really wanna get out of it. Machined metal here, there and everywhere is designed to stimulate you even when you're stationary. But it also adds to the overall hypercarness when you're on the move. Mr. Pagani does have a bit of a thing for Leonardo Da Vinci. And he likens his work and the engineering he puts into these cars as art-- though it wouldn't be too cruel to liken this to a bit of a Da Vinci [unk]-esque affair. It's some-- it's quite a site. It's look, as stunning as it is, needs to be matched by a power plant that's worthy. There's no point in putting a turbocharged 1.8 over its spine, is there? It's mid-engine because let's face it, that's how the best super- and hypercars are laid out. And it sourced the engine from a lovely little company called AMG. It's a hook-up that Paganis had since the mid-'90s. Now, it's inspired by Horacio Pagani's friend and mentor, Fangio. After all, he did race for Mercedes. This is a 6-liter twin turbo V12, and it pushes out 720 brake horsepower and 740 pound foot. Then, you have to factor in the weight. This thing weighs just 1,350 kilos. Now, to put that into perspective, a Ford Focus ST, a more attainable performance car, was 1,437 kilos and has about 1/3 of the power. This thing will hit 62 miles an hour in just 3.3 seconds and go on to 230 miles an hour. It's a bit quick. Light weight is king here, and Pagani's managed to do it by using a material called carbotanium. It's essentially a very complex chemical reaction that burns carbon and titanium with a little bit of platinum to create a super light, super strong composite. The chassis is made of this stuff and of the composites. And incidentally, it's also bullet-proof. Speaking of weight, it's not only carbotanium that keeps the weighing down low-- other composites, of course. But Pagani's engineers have thought of some very interesting solutions just to make sure the poundage stays as low as possible. So, you know how for the majority of supercars and hypercars, the dual-clutch gear box is basically the king of the road. Well, not so here. You can have a manual, but it uses a single clutch gear box. And the reason for that is purely weight. You see, adding an extra clutch on board will add extra 70 kilos to the 96 that are already here. Thus negating, according to Pagani's engineers, the need for the faster shift. Similarly, everything in here is basically carbon fiber, and it's lightweight as possible. Even the exhaust system is made of titanium. So, while you have exquisite design and craftsmanship upfront, you'll also find incredible engineering solutions to ensure you're driving the most advanced product they can be. Like every good book or film, there are layers to the wire. On the outside, it has a beautiful design. Everything has to be perfect to make sure it works. The paint has to be absolutely spot-on. Underneath the paint, the weave in the carbon fiber panels has to line up from panel to panel. If it doesn't the part is rejected. On the inside, the pieces of metal have to be just so the stitching has to be millimeter perfect. The tech has to be perfect. It has to be bang on just to make sure that this car is one step ahead of the game at every single move. The deeper you look, the more impressed you'd get with Pagani, especially the Huayra, it's difficult not to be impressed. But each and everyone of the 4,700 pieces in this car is just perfect. So, that's all the waxing lyrical about the bits that make it so special. But as a mortal, I would be a very lucky one. What's it like to take the keys to a million-dollar hypercar and go for a spin yourself? I feel very, very special. I really do. Because as I've said before, and I will say again, everything is just spot-on. It's so beautiful to look at, and it's so beautiful to experience. This interior is the finest I have ever, ever been in, hands down. The mix of carbon fiber and aluminum and leather, it makes it such a tactile experience. Everything is a joy to touch and a joy to hold. It's other-worldly, this. I went out in a Zonda with Mr. Pagani himself, had a quick spin of my own. Just to experience it, to experience what his car is like. And that was breath-taking. That was astounding. It felt light, it felt agile, it felt nimble. This is that plus. It is Zonda again. And then, you have the noise. You have the 6-liter twin turbo V12. Now, I'm told the best place to hear it is in the cabin because it's so-- it all sort of appears acoustically in between the seats. That's it. If you drive with the window down at this so slightly, you hear the wastegate, and you hear all of the noise. But by the time you get in on song, you're doing very, very illegal speed. But, my God, you can reach there quickly. It's such a rush. Everything just happens all at once. You-- it feels very nimble and very agile, and very, very controllable. Pagani worked hard to make sure there wasn't any turbo light because that engine has to be emissions compliant with Euro 6. So, they have to tune it, re-tune it, map it just so you had an experience that was perfect, that just picked up well. So much noise in this thing. It's amazing. To see this in a picture is one thing. To see this in the metal is another. To experience everything it has to offer, to be given the keys to it, to be given control of it, it's an honor and a privilege because good God, so few people will ever, ever get to play in something like this. This is hypercar. This is everything you think it is. It never lusted after driving something like this. It's just as good as you think it is-- no. Actually, that's not true. It's better than you think it is because it's magical. I'm never going to forget today. And hopefully, I've done my job right if by the end of this film, some of that will get rubbed off on you. Horacio Pagani wanted to make his ultimate car, his entry to the annals of supercars. Starting on with the Zonda, he did that. The Huayra is his mark on the hyprecar world. It's a very, very exclusive club that takes skill, ability, and craftsmanship to enter. If Huayra isn't mentioned as one of the hypercar great, I'd be very surprised.

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